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I'm learning DFRPG, having no prior experience with the FATE system. One thing I really like is the idea that we can --and should-- create our own stunts and powers... but I'm not sure I've really got the hang of it yet.

To that end, how would one design a balanced power with these parameters? (Inspired by a player's character concept, which should explain any weirdness.)

  • Costs one Refresh [-1].
  • Has a very narrow scope: invisibility. Must be able to make the user of the power invisible, but if it can have a range beyond personal then that's a shiny bonus.
  • Is phrased as a block (YS210), or a variant on the block mechanic, against checks to notice the target(s) of the power.

Guidelines for designing powers are on YS158, which lead back to the guidelines for stunt design on YS147.

Looking for baselines, I found the "minor veils" effect of the Faerie Magic power called Glamours [-2] (YS166), but it is not a block. The invisibility spell example called "Quick Veil" (evocation, spirit) on YS295 is a defensive block, but both of these are part of a larger package of effects and options.

This is my attempt, which I suspect is probably underpowered given its narrow scope, and almost certainly poorly worded:

Invisibility [-1]

You can use the basic glamours of the fey to vanish from mortal sight.

Skills Affected: Discipline, Deceit

Effect: You prevent most attempts to notice your presence. This is a block action that opposes checks to notice you (some supernatural effects may ignore this block as the GM sees fit): roll Discipline or Deceit with a +2 bonus to determine the strength of the block. In addition to any Stealth rolls you might make, a character must meet or beat your block in order to notice you. You may spend shifts to prolong the block's duration at a rate of one exchange per shift.

Both entirely new designs and critiques of my design attempt are welcome. In either case, an explanation of why something is or is not appropriate for a [-1] power of this scope would be appreciated.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The rules for creating a supernatural power are the same as the rules for creating a mortal stunt, except that supernatural powers may be slightly more effective. This includes allowing trappings that are flat-out impossible and granting a little extra at -1 (from YS 158).

The existing rules on YS 147 suggest that a stunt may add a new trapping or provide a numeric bonus in a reasonably narrow set of circumstances. Narrow is defined here as not applying to every roll and not applying to a small handful of rolls across a story.

Your Invisibility power is a combination of adding the "Hide" trapping to Discipline and Deceit with a +2 bonus with the limit that it can only be used to block.

Technically, this is balanced. You have a +2 bonus to Hide (the core stunt) can use different skills for it but can only use it for a limited range of actions (the little something extra).

It just doesn't feel right. Try this.

Invisibility [-1, Faerie Power]

You can use the basic glamours of the fey to vanish from mortal sight.

Skills Affected: Discipline, Deceit (Choose one)

Effect: You may hide using your chosen skill instead of Stealth. If you do, you do not need to stay still or stay out of sight to be hidden. Noises are not muffled so people can follow you that way instead. You can use this to block against anyone "Noticing me." or manuever to create the aspect "Invisible!" among other things.

Invisibility lasts for one exchange. You may spend shifts to increase this duration (1 shift for 1 extra exchange).

I think this is better, because it allows for the mechanical flexibility to use Invisibility in an appropriate way. For instance, during a fight, the Invisible! aspect can be invoked to increase your defense or attack, while blocking can be used to, hopefully, keep you out of the fight for a little while. You could even attack with it in mental combat (if you are trying to persuade someone a building is haunted for example).

It keeps the balance by allowing you to do anything you could do with Hide with your preferred glamouring ability and gives you that little extra by allowing you to increase the duration of its blocks and maneuvers.

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